N.J. Gov. Christie Vetoes Health Insurance Exchange

May 11, 2012

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation, Assembly Bill 2171, that would have begun to establish an online, state-run health care exchange in New Jersey in line with the federal Affordable Care Act.

The creation of health care exchanges in each state is provided for in the Affordable Care Act as the vehicle for individuals and businesses to access care and comply with the “individual mandate.”

Gov. Christie, who announced his decision Thursday, said it would be premature to enact such legislation while the future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain.

“The very constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is cloaked in uncertainty, as both the individual mandate to procure health insurance as well as the jurisdictional mandate to establish an exchange may not survive scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to Gov. Christie.

“Because it is not known whether the Affordable Care Act will remain, in whole or in part, it would be imprudent for New Jersey to create an exchange at this moment in time before critical threshold issues are decided with finality by the Court.”

Christie has previously cited the importance – both from a fiscal and health care policy perspective – of waiting until these issues can be resolved before the U.S. Supreme Court. New Jersey’ Assembly Bill 2171 was passed by the state legislature several days before the U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue in March.

“I am concerned that a hastily created exchange in New Jersey will impose unnecessary obligations upon the state’s taxpayers,” he said.

In his Twitter account, Gov. Christie noted that “I vetoed premature health exchange bill to protect N.J. taxpayers from far-reaching obligations that U.S. Supreme Court is examining now.” He tweeted that “Until we know SCOTUS decision, imposing mandates is imprudent fiscally and for our state’s health care policy.”

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